Saturday 29 January 2011

Park Wood and Grove


I called into a local woodland today , Park Wood which is between Canterbury and Chilham and my target bird was Lesser spotted woodpecker , alas i was unlucky with this , however i did encounter some good woodland birds , i saw a very showy Treecreeper and heard a very vocal Nuthatch , other birds of note were 2 Marsh Tits and 1 Coal Tit which were new Kent year ticks as was 2 fly over Lesser Redpolls.

This is only a small woodland and only takes approx an hour to do the whole circuit , i never saw another person there which is also a bonus , not that i am unsociable but woodland watching does need abit of quietness to get the rewards , on my way back to the car i had fairly good views of Goldcrest and 5 Siskins high up in the canopy plus a few smart looking Redwings.

Very showy Treecreeper.

From Park Wood i headed to Grove Ferry and it was rather quite there to say the least , although i did see a fine female Pintail from the Feast hide and a very close fly by from a female Marsh Harrier was a real treat .

Female Pintail.

Female Marsh Harrier.

From the hide i took a walk along the river but did not really add anything and on my way back past the paddock i briefly saw a male Bullfinch perched but know soon had i got onto it and then it was gone !!

Sunday 23 January 2011

Hawfinch in Kent ..... !!!!!


Once again. had a day birding in Kent on the 22nd , i started of at Tescos and was very pleased to see the Tesco Waxwings 24 birds were present , although the poor light didn't help with photography i had great views of these wonderful birds , my next stop was for the Northern Long-Tailed Tits at Dymchurch , on arrival i bumped into a couple of birders who had seen them by the Murco garage , i headed there but they had moved off out of sight , then after about 15 mins i got onto some Long Tailed Tits high up in the canopy and i was all soon enjoying these quite stunning Northern Long tailed tits .

I saw 2 birds but they were very flighty and sadly no photos were managed this time , I called into Dungeness briefly and saw a superb drake Smew and a redhead Goosander on the Arc pits and I had 2 Chiffchaffs along the willow trail ( or should that be renamed as the Chiffchaff trail ? ......... lol ) , 2 Ravens , 3 Tree Sparrows and 3 Ruddy Ducks were all added to my year list plus i had up to 5 redhead Smew and several Goldeneye from the visitors centre .

 Time was against me here as i wanted to try for the Hawfinch at Denge wood that i had seen previously , i arrived at Denge Wood at 1.30pm a bit early but i had several Siskin and a Treecreeper to keep me entertained and i heard a distant Tawny Owl the weather was closing in and the light was poor with a steady drizzle of rain but are persistence paid of when Marc H who was also present at this site picked out a Hawfinch high up on top of a pine tree , i had superb scope views then i picked out two more Hawfinches on a second tree .

Two Hawfinches.

I had really great views of these birds and i had a further 4 birds fly over head and a seventh bird was also seen abit later on ,  this is truly a remarkable site for these birds and with light fading very quickly i left for home very happy !!!!!

Friday 21 January 2011

Tesco Waxwings Part Two

Just could not resist some more photos of these delightful birds , apologies if i have bored you with my constant Waxwing  photos , but its not often go to Tescos and see these stunning birds .......           

Norfolk and Suffolk birding Bonanza 15th & 16th January


A weekend in Norfolk & Suffolk proved succesful, here are a selection of photos of some of the birds i saw.


Spotted Redshank.

Lesser White-Fronted Goose .

Iceland Gull.


Friday 14 January 2011

Tesco Waxwings


I finished work early today and called into Tescos at Whitstable to try and see the reported Waxwings that were seen earlier , and sure enough i soon saw 3 birders who were watching 11 of these superb birds and i soon joined them and enjoyed this stunning birds.

The light was fairly poor but all the same i just cant seem to get enough of these delightful Waxwings.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Northern Wonder

Northern Long Tailed Tit.

I had no plans to go out birding today but the lure of this delightful Northern Long Tailed Tit was to strong , i arrived at Dymchurch and joined the already gathered birders , it was proving elusive to find , i did see a female Merlin whilst i was waiting and then i noticed a few birders rushing over towards some trees , i soon joined them and it was not long until i got onto this northern wonder .

Good view of the under tail.

This is only a sub species of Long tailed tit but it was really stunning , white head, white under tail coverts , and much whiter wing coverts , it was keeping close company with a regular Long Tailed Tit and very good comparisons were made.

                                                               View of the wing coverts.

I watched this for about 10 minutes but the whole time it was keeping busy , moving around and was tricky to photo , eventually it moved of towards the church , there have been up to 5 birds seen here , i was completely satisfied with one , i also saw 1 Goldcrest and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers here.


I called into Fowlmead Country Park on the way home as the weather was much better today and i thought my chances of seeing the Waxwings were much higher , and on my arrival i first saw 4 or 5 birders and then i got onto the Waxwings in the top of some nearby trees , they were very vocal and a bit flighty , i counted 18 birds in total .

In flight.

Saturday 8 January 2011

Local Birding....... and 100 up for 2011

Male Siskin.

I decided to do some local birding today , i headed off to Fowlmead country park near Deal on the hope of seeing some Waxwings , however i was unlucky with these despite being there at 10.15 am and the pager alerting me that there were still 8 birds present and yet i was the only birder there ?????  its a mystery ! 

Still i did add Green Woodpecker and Wren to my year list , i also had good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing , i spent about an hour here then headed of to the Alder wood part of Stodmarsh and heard then saw a Siskin fly overhead in the car park there , i then encounted a further 50 birds in the woods mixed in with my first Goldfinches of the year , oddly there was not a Lesser Redpoll to be seen or heard here , i saw a distant female Marsh Harrier and good numbers of Teal , Mallard and Gadwall out on the lake , and then i had a brief view of a Bittern fly along the reed bed ,on my way back towards the car i saw 3 delightful  Long-Tailed Tits .

                                                                Another male Siskin.

Mixed wildfowl, how many can you id ??

From Stodmarsh i headed of to Denge wood where i had been told of a fairly reliable site for Hawfinch , its been a number of years since i have seen them locally as the site i used to see them is now devoid of most birds let alone Hawfinch , so with the directions written down i followed my map and duly arrived on site at 1.30 pm , abit early for the roost which is roughly 2.30 - 3 pm , but as it was an overcast day i thought i would just wait and see what happens and despite several more vocal Siskins there was no sign of any Hawfinch by 2pm . 

I had bumped into 2 other birders but they had not seen any either by this time , we spread out a little bit but keeping in earshot just in case, then i noticed 3 birds flying overhead quite short tailed and fairly large, as luck would have it they landed in the tops of some nearby trees and with in an instant i set my scope up and gave the shout  " 3 Hawfinches in the top of left hand tree "  very well marked birds and fantastic to see , really big billed and headed , they eventually flew off after about 2 to 3 minutes but sadly they were just abit to far to get any pictures.

With this i headed off home happy having reached over 100 for 2011 already with some top quality birds .

Monday 3 January 2011

Kent & Pett Level Birding

One of three Shorelarks at Reculver.

  Today ( 2nd Jan. ) i started of at Reculver to try and see the Hooded Crow which would be  a year tick for me , it was a  bitterly cold morning and on my walk along the sea wall i picked out a distant Harrier which soon came closer enough to id as a Marsh Harrier  which was quickly followed by Little Egret , Lapwing and Pheasant , there were plenty of Wigeon and Dark-Bellied Brent Geese on the sea  , as i carried on moving towards cold harbour i had 3 larks flying off but could not put a positive id to but were most probably the Shorelarks , damn , in the same area i first heard then saw 2 Snow Buntings which i happily added to my year list , i eventually reached cold harbour and was soon enjoying distant views of the Hooded Crow .

On my return journey i reached the area where i had seen 3 larks flying off earlier and within seconds i was  enjoying close views of 3 Shorelarks which were a very welcome addition to my ever growing year list , these are scarce birds in Kent and really smart birds to see let alone photograph .


I arrived back at the car and then headed of to Dungeness , i called into the visitor center and had really great views of a Bittern out in the open and then saw a Redhead Smew and 3 Goosanders i also added at least 2 female Goldeneyes and 1 Black-Necked Grebe .

 I then headed of towards the sea to try and catch up with the reported recently seen Glaucous and Caspain Gulls , but despite an intensive scan through the gulls i had no luck with the Caspian gull but thankfully i  managed to see the Glaucous Gull which was first spotted sitting on some type of metal structure then eventually seen resting on the ground .

Glaucous Gull on metal structure.

Resting on ground.

I also added several hundred Red-Throated divers of shore , quite a remarkable sight plus there were a few Great Crested Grebes on the sea and a couple of Guillemots and a fly by Razorbill.

My final destination was a trip to Pett level via a quick check of Scotney on the way through which resulted in 4 White-fronted geese and at Pett Level i enjoyed seeing a large mixed flock of Dark-bellied Brent geese which had approx 10 Pale-Bellied birds and a really smart looking Black Brant and another White-fronted goose , there were also 100 + Barnacle Geese and a scattering of Canada Geese , and then it was time to call it a day , on my way home i added Moorhen to my year list .

Great start to the new year in Cornwall

Purple Sandpiper.

A very early start saw me heading   to Cornwall for the Pacific Diver that had been there for a few days , on my journey i started of the new year with a superb Barn Owl drifting across the road as i was just about to join the A303 , other birds noted on are journey included Robin , Blackbird , Common Buzzard ( approx : 15 ) & Collared Dove.

I arrived in Cornwall and located myself at Marazion marsh where the diver was last seen the day before , my first Diver was a distant Red-Throated and was soon followed by a superb Great Northern Diver but no sign of the Pacific , there were alot of birds a long way out which were to far give a positive id to , i chatted to one or two local birders for up to date gen and was told of several good birds around past Penzance harbour at jubilee pool so i decided to check this site out as the Pacific has been seen from here to on occasions , i arrived and on my way towards the Jubilee pool area i saw a really smart male Black Redstart .

Eider . ( one of two birds present ).

I added Slavonian Grebe , Purple Sandpiper and Eider from this vantage point plus 3 more Great Northern divers and a Red-Necked Grebe .

I was than told by some old lady that there will be lots of swimmers coming around to where i was birding from very soon (they must be mad , it was a very cold day) , so i decided to go around to a small bay and try for the Grey Phalarope that had been seen there , just previous to speaking to the old lady another birder picked out a fly over Glaucous Gull  1st winter bird  ! on my arrival it was negative news on the Phalarope but there was a very close Pale-Bellied Brent Goose which i managed to photo .

Pale-Bellied Brent Goose.

Still no news or sign of the target bird but top quality birds was making this a very good days birding all the same , then the news broke , my pager chirped that the target bird had been seen just off Jubilee pool so i decided to head straight there , and some manic driving later i was back on site and after approx 15 minutes i was adding PACIFIC DIVER to my life list , a really smart bird to see , the chin strap was seen every now and again especially when it started to preen , white throat contrasted really well against dark nape and back of neck , the evident lack of white thigh patch was very obvious , a very compact bird with small roundish head and slender bill, i have now seen all five world species of diver and my only disappointment is i never got a photo of this bird  .

The Pacific Diver then drifted off towards St Michael's mount so i decided to head off back there but i could not pick it up again , although i did add several more year ticks from Marazion marsh including a fine Bittern giving me a brief flying view , so with time against me i decided to pop into Hayle Estuary and added many new birds to are year list , including 6 female Goosanders , Knot , Redshank , and plenty of ducks , and then time caught up with me and i headed of home very happy .